March 24, 2020 – 06:00 PM PDT: We are no longer updating this blog post. Please visit Covid-19 Resources for British Columbians on the Clicklaw Wikibooks for regularly updated information.
Here, we are providing a temporary space where intermediaries can find useful information for their community in British Columbia such as:
- Hotline numbers and online resources responding to Covid-19 developments, including employment and government benefits.
- Changes to legal help & services in BC.
- Links to Covid-19 responses from BC Courts and Tribunals.
As many organizations and government agencies are still working on planning their responses and transitioning their workforce, we are updating this post regularly.
Last updated: March 23, 2020 – 10:30 AM PDT
Hotline Numbers & Online Resources
- BC Centre for Disease Control: Covid-19 Resources (BC CDC)
- Information about COVID-19, how to protect yourself, your family and your community and what to do if you suspect you have the virus. Includes translated content (PDF and videos).
- BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool: use this online tool first to help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.
- If you are unsure about what to do or have medical concerns or questions, contact HealthLinkBC (call 8-1-1) at any time or speak with your health care provider. 8-1-1 has translation services available.
- COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information (BC)
- Includes links to information about work for employees and employers
- For non-health related information and services such as childcare, travel advisories, school closures and more, call 1-888-COVID19 (toll-free) or 604-412-0957 (7:30am-8pm PST). Translation services available. Text: 604-630-0300. Standard message and data rates may apply.
- BC COVID-19 response update (March 18)
- Employers must excuse workers for sickness without requiring a doctor’s note
- The BC government will make changes to the Employment Standards Act to protect workers and prevent layoffs.
- Medical Services Plan (MSP) for BC residents
- MSP coverage wait periods waived for people moving back to BC from COVID-19 impacted areas. Some temporary coverage available for British Columbians who are out of the province and unable to return.
- WorkSafeBC: Covid-19 and the workplace
- Recommendations for some key workplace issues related to COVID-19, including rights to refuse work, workplace protections, and compensation.
- Public Health Agency of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- News & updates, travel advice, responses from the federal government
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses
- An overview of federal government’s plan for helping Canadians with income support, flexibility for taxpayers, and assistance for homeowners experiencing financial difficulty. Includes a table of 2020-2021 cost/impact and implementation dates.
- Service Canada: Covid-19 Notice
- Information on Employment Insurance (EI), labour program and federally regulated workplaces, work-sharing program, Canada student loans, and passport services.
- If you have already completed the application for EI sickness benefits whether you are sick or quarantined and would like to have the one-week waiting period waived, call the new toll-free phone number below. It is important to note that no other request will be actioned on this phone line. We will take action only for sick or quarantined clients affected by the COVID-19 for which the application for sickness benefits has been filed.:
- Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)
- Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742
- For Employment Insurance (EI), also see CBC’s article “How to apply for EI and COVID-19 emergency benefits“
- COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad
- For Canadians who have no available source of funds to return home. This emergency assistance is a repayable loan.
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Client Support Centre
- Agents are unable to answer your call. You can still access pre-recorded information about our programs and check the status of your application. If you need to contact us, use our Web form. Phone services are expected to resume April 2, 2020.
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: Examples of Covid-19 Frauds
- The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) – guidance on privacy and the COVID-19 outbreak
- PovNet: Covid-19 Special Resources
- A list of resources available to help British Columbians struggling as a result of COVID-19 pandemic procedures.
- Condominium Home Owners Association of BC: Covid-19 Bulletins , also see Condo Smarts: Managing Through a Crisis
- Moore Edgar Lyster LLP: Information for Unions Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace
- Real Estate Council of BC: Information for Real Estate Consumers on COVID-19 and Recommendation to Temporary End Open Houses, Strata AGMs
- Small Business BC: What Employers Need to Know About Temporary Layoffs
- Breder Law: Pet Rights Under Covid-19 Quarantine
Changes to Legal Help & Info Services in BC
Click on the links for the original service changes announcement and more details.
- Access Pro Bono BC: Moving nearly all of services from in-person delivery to telephone and online delivery. Shutting down the court-based Civil Chambers Program on a temporary basis while in the process of shifting resources to telephone and online service delivery.
- Courthouse Libraries BC: All 29 locations are closed. For assistance with finding legal information, members of the public can email email@example.com or leave a voice message: 1-800-665-2570 (toll-free) or 604-660-2841.
- Legal Aid BC: Taking applications for legal aid over the phone only, not accepting in-person applications. Call the Provincial Call Centre (604-408-2172 or 1-866-577-2525) or the local agent in your community.
- People’s Law School: Offices are closed. Public legal education classes are postponed. For assistance, call 604-331-5400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Justice Education Society: If you have legal info questions, please Ask JES. Volunteers are available live M-F 11-2 via text or phone to 855-875-8867, or web chat https://justiceeducation.ca
- Justice Access Centres & Family Justice Centres:
- In-person services are discontinued temporarily, including the Self-help Resource Rooms and services provided by justice partners located in the Justice Access Centres. Services will continue through telephone and other virtual service options until further notice. In locations or circumstances where services are required prior to or as part of a family court process (e.g Rule 5 or Victoria Early Resolution and Case Management Prototype), services will continue to be available through the use of technology. All callers to local centres will be advised of the service options available to them.
- Clients with appointments already scheduled with Family Justice Counsellors or Child Support Officers will be contacted directly by our local offices to discuss options for how that appointment can proceed.
PovNet maintains a list of programs and services that may have changed or are temporarily closed, including poverty law advocates. See their Covid-19 Service Changes.
BC Courts & Tribunals
Click on the links for the original service changes announcement and more details, including notices.
- Provincial Court of BC: Response to Covid-19
- (March 19) Suspension of regular court operations effective March 25, but urgent matters will proceed in “hub” courts.
- Supreme Court of BC: Announcements
- (March 18) Closure of BC Courthouses and suspension of all regular court operations effective March 19.
- Court of Appeal for BC: Announcement
- (March 17) Strictly limited court operations effective March 18.
- Civil Resolution Tribunal: Covid-19 Response Plan
- If you are a party to a CRT dispute and you need an extension of time due to COVID-19, just email email@example.com with the reason for your request and your dispute number.
- Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal BC: Covid-19 Update
- No longer be offering oral hearings. Appellants will still have a choice of written and teleconference hearings. Already scheduled oral hearings will be converted to teleconferences and parties will be contacted with information regarding these changes.
- Labour Relations Board BC: Notice on COVID-19 Service Impacts
- The offices at 1066 West Hastings Street are closed to the public. All non-essential in-person hearings, mediations, and settlement conferences will be postponed until at least April 3, 2020. Essential hearings and votes will proceed.